Archive for April 2008

SWARM Rocks Coachella

I got back from Coachella Monday morning. The weekend was tremendous fun.

High-points:

Kraftwerk – I’ve heard bits of their music for years but their super-low-key on-stage performance was enthralling.

KraftwerkKraftwerk

Prince – He’s an incredibly talented guitarist, an incredible singer, terrific on the piano, an incredible showman and choreographer, a fantastic songwriter, and incredibly expressive and sexy on the largest stage. He even transposes cover songs to be his own phenomenally. (and I’ve had a crush on Sheila E since like 1988)

prince-sheilae

brett-dennenBrett Dennen – If she is on my top 3, I obviously don’t belong at Coachella but a folk festival. She should headline one.

Walking around with an orb following me – Marcus drove the orb while I interacted with people interacting with the orb. This one lady kept asking how they worked and I strung her along until she demanded “I am an Electrical Engineer. Tell me how it knows where it’s going!” She was crushed when I told her it was remote controlled though I tried to console her with our plans of full autonomy. I also thoroughly enjoyed driving the orb while Marcus played with people.

sergeSerge Tankian’s performance was fun if inaudibly loud, standing about 5 rows back with Marcus.

Fatboy Slim is such a presenter, I loved the first several minutes of the show. Then he turned the bass to 11 and I couldn’t bear staying in my spot 250 yards from the stage :-(

Low-points:

Roger Waters – The music sounded too similar to how it did 20 years ago, I’m not a fan of stagnancy or living on your laurels. And I have to admit Floyd reminds me of some difficult times in my life. His new song “Leaving Beirut” was…. it wasn’t a song but a 4 page high-school essay on what he did on his summer vacation. And he read it as such. Apparently, Pink Floyd’s members make better music together than apart.

Roger Waters at amateur night

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Here’s SWARM running around during Kraftwerk :-)

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Power Tool Drag Racers

Steven Nelson built some power tool drag racers for the upcoming competitions at Maker Faire May 3-4 and Ace International Speedway May 17-18.

:-)

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HOWTO: Be a homeopathic bioterrorist

This HOWTO was written by Paul Kuliniewicz. Reproduced here under CC license.

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HOWTO: Be a homeopathic bioterrorist

  1. Buy a carton of orange juice and 30 1-gallon jugs of water.
  2. Place one drop of orange juice into one of the jugs of water. Shake.
  3. Take one drop of that dilution and place it into the next jug of water. Shake.
  4. Take one drop of that dilution and place it into the next jug of water. Shake.
  5. Repeat the process until you reach the last jug of water.
  6. Take a drop of that final dilution and place it into your municipality’s water supply.
  7. Everyone gets scurvy!

Frequently Asked Questions

WTF?

According to homeopathy, a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure that disease in sick people, and diluting a substance makes it more potent. While traditional homeopathy creates medicine by diluting harmful subtances, we can apply the same principles to weaponize healthy substances. Since orange juice has lots of vitamin C, a homeopathic dilution of orange juice would induce a crippling vitamin C deficiency in anyone who drank it.

How does diluting something make it more powerful?

Because some guy in the eighteenth century decided it does.

How does diluting something make it have the opposite effect it normally does?

Because that same guy decided it does.

Neither of those makes any sense.

I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were in the pocket of Big Pharma, you soulless corporate shill.

I mean, at that level of dilution, it’s unlikely there’s even a single molecule of orange juice in the water.

So? There doesn’t have to be. The water remembers what was in it.

How does that work, exactly?

Dissolved silica from the container. Or aerosols that get mixed in during shaking. Or quantum entanglement. Or friction with a fancy-sounding name. Which one sounds the most sciency? Because it’s that one. I was just joking about those other ones. Though they’re also true. Even though they’re mutually contradictory.

Is there any scientific evidence any of those are actually the mechanism?

Sure! I totally know a guy who knows a guy who tried it, and it totally worked.

No, I mean is there any scientific evidence? You know, double-blind tests and controls and null hypotheses and everything.

Well, no, not with those kinds of tests. It’s well-known that double-blind tests don’t work for homeopathy.

Why is that?

Why, since well-controlled double-blind tests of homeopathy always fail to show any difference between homeopathic treatments and placebo! Since we know homeopathy is true (as you’ll recall, some guy in the eighteenth century decided it’s true), that proves double-blind tests don’t work. Besides, so-called “scientists” are also all in the pocket of Big Pharma, just because if homeopathy were true it would invalidate everything they “know” about chemistry and medicine.

Wait, aren’t there trace amounts of just about any water-soluble compound you can think of in tap water? Shouldn’t the water that comes out of my faucet cure every ailment known to man?

No, that’s stupid.

Why is that?

The water didn’t get shaken the right way.

So there’s a special way you’re supposed to shake the water now?

Apparently.

Are you just making all this up to defend the ridiculous idea that homeopathy actually works?

No.

How do I know you’re right?

You think selling bottled municipal tap water for $1 a bottle is a ripoff? Think of the margins on selling small amounts of water as medicine!

a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people will cure that disease in sick people

DoublingStocks.com: scam

I clicked on a Google Ad for DoublingStocks.com. The ad and the site was very adamant about how terrific their service was. I googled around and found several sites with people that didn’t have good things to say about it. And then here was the clincher:

This Pennystocks.com page had lots of info about the company that showed them as being sketchy (like that their published phone number didn’t work and their published address isn’t a real building) and pointed me to this archive.org page about the company’s previous endeavor, pokerbobby.com.

A pretty compelling tidbit is that these grifters reused images from their previous job. Note the two pages below. :-(

pokerbobbycom

doublingstockscom

The Beautiful Thing About Ashes: Nick Woolsey: Poi

Charlotte and I have been learning poi spinning recently. One thing we’ve been doing is watching videos on the intertubes. We came across this video that introduced us to Nick Woolsey. Nick is pretty amazing. His videos show his excellent teaching, a puckish grin and an earnest streak 2 miles long. Oh and also that he is a freaking amazing poi spinner.

Introductions done, here’s the video Charlotte found that introduced us to Nick. You can find more about this video on his site and find him at Playpoi.com. Nick’s Youtube page is worth watching.

high quality .mov version: beauty_of_ashes

The Tightrope Walker’s Dream: Inspiration and Encouragement

Today’s inspiration and encouragement comes from my downstairs neighbor. The only thing I can add is that, in the Author’s Corner, he writes, “this book was truly delightful to make”. I can visualize him saying that and I absolutely believe him. This is worthwhile. Click below and enjoy.

The Tightrope Walker's Dream by Graham Best